Monday, January 5, 2015

Top 50 New To Me Films of 2014

My year in cinema was characterized by auteurist spurts and my tendency to seek out cinema with themes that are of interest. It is ironic that 2014 was the year when I abandoned the idea of auteur theory being strictly linked to directors, and yet my list is rife with filmmakers who I decided to explore this year. The biggest director of 2014 was Chantal Akerman. Her cinema of inward, slow moving beauty connected instantly and while I had been a fan in the past this was the year she possibly became my favourite director. Queer Cinema has a strong hold on this list with the likes of Paris is Burning and John Waters films making appearances. Dance is strong as well, as my interest in ballet intensified this year when oddly enough I became interested in wrestling. The two share components of filming bodies in action and Wiseman and Akerman found the beauty of movement in "Ballet" and "One Day Pina Asked". John Carpenter and Jean Luc Godard were of great interest to me last year as well as I finally undid my preconceived notions of Carpenter's lesser discussed works and found them to be just as strong as anything else he ever made. Starman may even be his best film, as he's never been more human telling the story of an alien. Godard's work in the 80s, along with Notre Musique, delighted me last year as my appreciation for his breaking down of form while keeping with familiar languages clicked in a way that opened him up to me in a way he had previously been closed. However, the crown jewel of last year was Paris is Burning. A film made of portraits, of beautiful people who long to exist and express themselves.

One note: Films from 2013 and 2014 are banned from the list. Every other year is eligible.

1. Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1990)
2. Ms. 45 (Abel Ferrara, 1981)
3. Female Trouble (John Waters, 1974)
4. Don't Go Breaking My Heart (Johnnie To, 2011)
5. Starman (John Carpenter, 1984)
6. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)
7. Brief Encounter (David Lean, 1945)
8. Hotel Monterey (Chantal Akerman, 1972)
9. Take Care of My Cat (Jeong Jae-eun, 2001)

10. They Live (John Carpenter, 1988)
11. Notre Musique (Jean Luc Godard, 2004)
12. Something Wild (Jack Garfein, 1962)
13. Ballet (Frederick Wiseman, 1995)
14. The Heartbreak Kid (Elaine May, 1972)
15. Toute Une Nuit (Chantal Akerman, 1982)
16. King Lear (Jean Luc Godard, 1987)
17. Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Joe Dante, 1990)
18. Hard, Fast & Beautiful (Ida Lupino, 1951)
19. Duelle (Jacques Rivette, 1976)

20. Deadly Outlaw Rekka (Takashi Miike, 2002)
21. Throne of Blood (Akira Kurosawa, 1957)
22. Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (Todd Haynes, 1988)
23. Mikey and Nicky (Elaine May, 1976)
24. The Doll (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919)
25. Christine (John Carpenter, 1983)
26. Martin (George A. Romero, 1976)

27. Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
28. Matinee (Joe Dante, 1993)
29. Ishtar (Elaine May, 1987)
30. Pink Flamingos (John Waters, 1972)
31. Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minelli, 1944)
32. Bound (Lily & Lana Wachowski, 1996)
33. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953)
34. One Day Pina Asked (Chantal Akerman, 1983)
35. The Immortal Story (Orson Welles, 1968)
36. The Great Muppet Caper (Jim Henson, 1981)
37. The Bigamist (Ida Lupino, 1953)
38. The Long Day Closes (Terrence Davies, 1993)
39. D'est (Chantal Akerman, 1993)
40. The Great Dictator (Charlie Chaplin, 1940)
41. Five Deadly Venoms (Cheh Chang, 1978)
42. High School (Frederick Wiseman, 1968)
43. Come Drink With Me (King Hu, 1966)
44. L'Intrus (Claire Denis, 2004)
45. Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, 1965)
46. Ace Attorney (Takashi Miike, 2012)
47. First Name: Carmen (Jean Luc Godard, 1983)
48. Outrage (Ida Lupino, 1950)
49. Working Girls (Lizzie Borden, 1986)
50. The Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick,, 1957)

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